Jim Donovan stepping away from Browns play-calling duties amid leukemia battle


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In a heartfelt announcement following the Cleveland Browns 24-3 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals this afternoon, the iconic voice of the Cleveland Browns, Jim Donovan, revealed that he will be taking a temporary leave from WKYC and his Browns Radio Network duties to focus on his ongoing medical treatment.

Donovan, who has been a stalwart presence in the Cleveland sports scene for decades, disclosed that his decision was a necessary step in his ongoing battle against chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Donovan, who was first diagnosed with CLL in 2000, had successfully undergone a bone marrow transplant in 2011. However, his courageous journey took another challenging turn as he faced a relapse of the disease about a year and a half ago.

jim donovan
Jordan Miller (left) and Jim Donovan pictured outside of the Browns training facility in Berea while covering the NFL draft in 2019.

Donovan acknowledged the incredible support he has received from his family, colleagues, and the medical professionals at University Hospital’s Seidman Cancer Center.

“In addition to my teams at WKYC, the Browns, and of course my wife (Cheryl) and daughter (Meghan), I have an amazing group of doctors and caregivers at University Hospital’s Seidman Cancer Center, and I truly appreciate everyone’s support,” said Donovan.

While Donovan embarks on this latest phase of his treatment, his Browns Radio Network duties will be temporarily handled by Chris Rose, who will be joined by regular commentators Nathan Zegura, doing color and Je’Rod Cherry on the sideline.

Donovan expressed his commitment to staying connected with his audience during his absence.

“I promise I’ll be a listener, and I’ll be back as soon as I can,” he said.

Donovan began his tenure at WKYC in 1985 and has been an integral part of the Cleveland sports landscape ever since.

In 1999, he became the “Voice of the Cleveland Browns” and is currently in his 25th season behind the microphone. His influence extends beyond the Browns, as he has also lent his iconic voice to NFL games on NBC for 11 seasons and served as the play-by-play announcer for several events during the network’s coverage of the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympics.

“We have total confidence in the medical professionals at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center,” Donovan assured his well-wishers. “They have done an amazing job for many, many years treating me, and I am ready to put my case in their hands again.”